Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he plans to fill the void left by Sadio Mane by incorporating the returning Philippe Coutinho into a role which will help the team. Mane is currently on international duty with Senegal and will not be available until February, leaving the Reds wanting in attack.
They have failed to win their last three games in all competitions, drawing against Sunderland in the league and Plymouth in the FA Cup third round, while losing to Southampton in the semi-final of the EFL Cup at St Mary's. Coutinho, who was out for more than a month with an ankle injury, started from the bench against the Saints and is likely to play a part in their game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday (15 January).
The Reds have failed to score in their last two games and it is believed that Mane's absence had an effect on the attacking impetus of the team. Mane's pace in the attacking third allows Liverpool to open goal scoring opportunities and Klopp insists that Coutinho's runs in the opposition penalty box will alleviate the problems set by Mane's departure.
"It is a nice question," said Klopp when asked how he will cope with Mane's absence, as quoted by the Mirror. "But, yes, we have a plan. We have a specific solution and then we will think about the next game. We will try to figure out which one works best. There is no player exactly like Sadio. But it is not a problem, we will find solutions.
"We know there is a difference between fit and match-fit, but of course it's Phil, we have another three days to prepare him for United. It was the best news [of the night] at Southampton, that Phil is back. You can see immediately how important it is. He will of course not be 100 per cent, but he can be important for us, and it is good he is back," he said.